It is very rare for the average person to truly experience the tangled web woven by a white-collar crime family unless, of course, you happen to meet a member of such a crime family. Greed and Fear: The Galanis Crime Family by Derek Galanis allows readers to see into this shady world through his own personal experience which eventually led to his incarceration.
Galanis is currently serving time and had he not been drawn into his father’s scams, he could have easily been making a name for himself in the literary world. He spoke to The National Herald about his book and Greek heritage.
When asked how long it took to write the book, Galanis said, “I decided to write the book when I was about a year or two from prison in 2014 or 15. That said I never put pen to paper until I was in New York Metropolitan Correctional Center. I wrote the entire book by hand there, typed it up, and sent it out to my lawyer in 6-7 months. I began editing for about a year inside both from the confines of Metropolitan Detention Center Brooklyn and Federal Correctional Institution La Tuna. The editing was by far the most challenging part and I was aided by the email system I have here. So pen to paper to publication was somewhere around 18 months.”
About his Greek heritage, Galanis told TNH, “My Greek ethnicity was a strong part of my cultural heritage. All of my tattoos are Greek and I was a history major in college making that identity even more important. It’s interesting that you ask where we were from in Greece. I have a lambda on my chest with Lakedaemon beneath it BUT I have a strong belief that my father created this identity in forging his crime family. The concept that material wealth was not individually important and that everything was the state’s (read the family’s or read more accurately HIS). And further that dying for the family against insurmountable odds was something noble and to be strived for. My Thermopylae was my drug case where I protected my father (as well as other organized crime members) with my life; they tried to give me 20 years but I would not budge in looking to my cultural heritage for the example of self sacrifice and defending the state.
“Of course, as I viewed others’ actions, including my father’s, self interest was always at heart. My father’s flight from justice was the opposite of a Thermopylae moment. One where he ran to protect the self, abandoning everything and everyone. As I became more and more aware of his paradigm I understood the Spartan myth was one intended to take advantage of my warrior spirit. That said, it still ran deep. I protected my younger brother on this case at the expense of my own time in prison. There are also revelations I make in the book about my yiayia that caused me the most anguish in the entire publication process. In the end, I realized not telling the whole story would be robbing the readers of the reality of things much like I was robbed growing up.
“Being Greek definitely played a huge role in not only my self-perception but how my life turned out. The Gambino Crime Family dealt with John and us like we were the same type of clannish group because of that heritage. Perhaps if we were Jewish we would have gotten the same treatment but certainly not if we were simply Americans,” Galanis concluded.
According to his biography, Derek Meyer Galanis currently resides in federal custody in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He was born into the Galanis Crime Family, never having a normal life or a real job besides learning and teaching martial arts. When he is released from federal custody, his dream is to start a Combat Sports non-profit so that kids can experience the positive benefits of martial arts like he has.
Greed and Fear: The Galanis Crime Family by Derek Galanis is available online.